Bay Area Sports: Ranking the Top 30 Players

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Sep 30, 2015; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants third baseman Matt Duffy (5) throws to first base during the ninth inning of the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at AT&T Park. The San Francisco Giants defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

#29 – Matt Duffy, San Francisco Giants

Matt Duffy’s growth in 2015, his first full season as a major leaguer, was astonishing. He broke camp as the 25th man on the 25-man roster, and as a bench bat and spot starter played well in a limited role. When Casey McGehee‘s struggles continued more than a month into the year, Duffy took the starter’s role, playing every day in a position that was unfamiliar to him. Not only did Duffy stabilize the position, but he also made it his own and ran with the job.

Duffy flirted with a .300 average for most of the season, but ultimately fell a hair short at .295. He racked up 28 doubles, five triples, a dozen home runs, 77 RBI, and stole 12 bases without being caught once. He did most of that while hitting third, a premier offensive spot in the lineup. In his first season as a full-time third baseman, Duffy was named a finalist for National League’s Gold Glove at third base but ultimately fell to Nolan Arenado.

Duffy was also runner-up for the runner-up for the National League’s Rookie of the Year award, falling just short to Chicago Cubs’ phenom Kris Bryant. Duffy racked up a WAR of five in 2015, the second-highest total for an NL rookie in eight years. The only downside to that is that Bryant had the only better season, with a 6.5 WAR. Those are the breaks.

The slim slugger Duffy is still only 24 years old, and he makes up a quarter of the Giants’ extremely talented, and very young, homegrown infield. The way those four individuals develop should have a lot of Bay Area Sports fans excited, and Duffy is certainly a part of that.

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